Hearty stews are a comfort food deeply rooted in home cooking. A potful of steamy stew is simple, hearty, and feeds the soul. This beef stew featuring a rich, satisfying red wine sauce is bound to be a crowd-pleasing entrée. You’ll need to set aside some time to cook this stew, but all good things require TLC (“tender loving care”) and will be well worth the effort.
Stop by your local butcher to reserve a fresh piece of beef brisket. If you can’t find beef brisket handy, beef short ribs, oxtail, or beef top round steak will do just fine. Also, go ahead and freeze leftovers to reheat and enjoy when there’s no time to cook during the weekdays.
Total Time: 30 min. (prep), 2.5 hr. (cook)
Yield: 4 servings
2 1/2 pound beef brisket
6 oz pancetta, sliced
2 cups low sodium, low fat beef broth
1 pound small white potatoes, wash and scrub clean
1 pound carrots peeled and cut to size of baby carrots
1 pound pearl onions, peeled and cut off the root end of each pearl onion
1 Spanish onion, chopped (we like the mild and sweet flavor of Spanish onion)
5 celery stalks, cut to about the same size of baby carrots
1 cup celery, diced(additional, to be used for soup base)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cloves shallots, diced
3 dried bay leaf
2 1/2 cup robust red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
10 oz frozen green peas, thawed
5 tbsp. all-purpose flour (3 tbsp. to be used for soup base; 2 tbsp. to be used for flouring beef chunks)
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
1) Trim the fat off the beef brisket, wash and towel dry. Cut into 2 inch chunks and lightly dust with 2tbsp. flour.
2) Coat a 10-inch skillet with 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Sear the meat on all sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
3) Pan fry the pancetta in the skillet and cook until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
4) Slightly brown the potatoes until golden. Set aside. Pour oil out and discard. We do not want the stew to be too greasy.
5) Add 1/2 cup of red wine to deglaze pan. Set aside liquid.
6) Lightly coat a heavy-bottomed pot with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Place over medium high heat. Add onions, shallots, garlic, 1 cup of chopped celery and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes.
7) Put the skillet on medium heat and stir in 3 tbsp. of flour, stir constantly until the flour is cooked.
8) Add the reserved deglazing liquid to the pot. Add bay leaf, 2 cups of beef broth, 2 cups of red wine, and 1 cup of water. Add pancetta and beef brisket chunks. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 2 1/2 hours and the liquid has reduced. Stir occasionally.
9) Add the celery, carrots, pearl onions and white potatoes. Simmer at low heat until tender, about 1/2 hour.
10) Add thawed green peas and bring the stew to a boil again. Remove bay leaf and discard.
11) Season stew with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon stew into bowls, dividing into 4 portions. Serve with a slice of toasted bread if desired.
An alternative option to letting the stew simmer on the stove is to transfer all ingredients to a crock pot after they have been brought to a boil. Leave the stew in the crock pot until the meat has become tender; and then, return the stew to the stove to add the celery, carrots, pearl onions and white potatoes.